Sonic, the blue flashy hedgehog, might be a speedster; but, the road it takes to finally land a live-action adaptation is never an easy one. Against all the video-game adaptation curse, this adaptation of SEGA property hits the wall when the first trailer was released. The internet immediately stormed the filmmakers booing the grounded-to-reality design of the titular character (with smaller eyes, shorter legs, and teeth that looks like a real hedgehog). Director Jeff Fowler had to take the spotlight and announced that the release would be delayed by 3 months to finally get the look. One thing for sure, the effort of VFX artists behind Sonic the Hedgehog is fruitful.
The VFX is not utterly revolutionary; however, they have succeeded in giving the blue devil an actual shot to show some real fight. Without the tireless work to eventually present the ‘real’ best version of Sonic, the movie has finished before even trying, even when it actually has the potentials, in the form of the protagonist (voiced by Ben Schwartz) and the villain, Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey).
Sonic the Hedgehog has bypassed the ‘video-game adaptation curse’ by cracking the code previously done by Tomb Raider. The movie focuses more on the fan-favorite character that meets fans’ expectations, has the likable traits, and does not act pretentiously cool. We can see these traits as the movie opens in medias res with a set-piece. As if it’s too fast for us to catch (clever writing, anyway), Sonic has to finally start the story at the beginning back in his universe where he’s hunted for his speedster ability. That’s where Longclaw, his caretaker, sends him to Green Hills, Montana.
The rest of the plot happens quickly with a stake which might happen in a very short period of time. It’s more functional than explorative; but, for this time being, it might be for the best. Sonic encounters a local sheriff, Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), who is tired of living in a small city and expecting some real actions in San Francisco. When Sonic accidentally causes a power surge that blacks out an entire district, the government absurdly dispatches Carrey’s Robotnik. When that happens, Sonic and Tom embark on a road trip to retrieve Sonic’s transportation rings which come straight from the game.
Both Sonic and Robotnik are the most entertaining elements of the movie. Sonic’s happy-go-lucky enthusiasm is exciting at all times, especially with Schwartz’s energetic voice. Even when the plot is cliche-ridden and the action sequences are not always the most original, Sonic’s adventure is still as playful as it could be, giving the whole movie a video-game feels. Meanwhile, Robotnik is Carrey’s most endearing screen persona in recent years; even when the over-the-top gag cannot be less annoying.
Sonic the Hedgehog is, as the character itself, fast-paced and happy-go-lucky even when it just skips the plot aside from its functionality. The fun character lives up to the extensive redesigning effort; and, that’s good news.